Yes, women still earn 75% as much as men

Graph of earnings by educational attainment for men and women in 2009

Have you been repeating the stat that women earn only 75% as much as their male counterparts for years but secretly wondered if it could possibly still be true? Well, according to a report released yesterday by the White House, it still is! Which is pretty damn sad.

Described as the most comprehensive federal report on the status of women in the U.S. since 1963, the report mainly provides a statistical snapshot–filled with many a nice graph!–of a lot of facts you probably already know.

  • Women (and men) are getting married later than ever before
  • Women are delaying having children longer, having fewer of them, or sometimes not having them at all
  • Women still typically do more housework than men
  • Women are more likely to be victims of some crimes such as stalking and domestic violence
  • Women are more likely than men to suffer from depression and chronic health problems
  • Women are more likely to live in poverty than men

And that pesky pay gap! 75 cents to the dollar. At all levels of educational attainment. (And for Black and Hispanic women that’s 71% and 62% respectively.) A stat that persists despite the fact that women have not only caught up with men in education but have now surged past them. These days, young women are actually more likely than young men to have college or graduate degrees.

Valerie Jarrett, chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, says she hopes the report “serves as a guidepost to help us move forward.” But as our own Ann Friedman writes at the Atlantic, naming a problem is one thing–fixing it is quite another.

“Even as it highlights the major advances women have made over the past few decades, the report raises some challenging questions about the meaning of women’s progress. Does it matter that more women are getting educated if they still aren’t making money on par with their male colleagues in the workforce? Does it matter that women are delaying childbirth if they still overwhelmingly end up as primary caregivers? Does it matter if women live longer if, over the course of their lives, they suffer from more mental and physical health problems?”

Creating effective solutions to these persistent gaps is a huge policy challenge–one that requires political will and innovative thinking. In the meantime, at least we have a better picture of where we are and where we’ve been. And you can rest assured: 75% does indeed still stand. For now.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation